The more guys I turn down (let’s see, the most recent one makes it three and counting), the more I realize there ain’t no painless way of rebuffing their advances.

The funny thing: all the guys I turned down turned to listening to music to ease their heartaches. As in, the next time I saw them after our heart-to-heart talks, they all had earphones jammed into their ears and the music turned way up. The first guy used a free radio transceiver from Jollibee. The second guy used a Walkman he paid for. The third guy? An iPod Nano. (Hmm… I’m moving up in the world?)

The “makes-you-think” thing: It’s easy to say it’s his problem and not mine that he had to come out and reveal his feelings toward me. Still, I have to deal with feelings of guilt due to the following questions:

  1. Did I in any way lead him on?
  2. Did I assure him he still has my friendship? (assuming he treated me respectfully)
  3. How friendly should I be to make him aware that my interest in him is entirely platonic?

To be honest I don’t think I can wash my hands of wrongdoing, as I tend to let a guy get too close before I realize something’s not quite right with the “friendship.” Well, actually, there are warning signs but I am so naive that I blithely carry along like I can convince him just to remain my friend so that I don’t have to face the day he offers his heart to me on a platter. It just doesn’t work. I wonder if these guys think I’m a man-eater, like that Nelly Furtado song.

She’s a man-eater
Make you buy cars
Make you cut cards
Make you fall real hard in love
She’s a man-eater
Make you work hard
Make you spend hard
Make you want all of her love
She’s a man-eater
Wish you never ever met her at all!

The sucky thing: when I ultimately turn him (whichever guy) down and away from that particular path to my heart, he ends up resenting me. In turn, I end up avoiding him so that I don’t cause him pain by seeing me. The cycle of grief reinforces itself as he starts thinking I don’t want to be around him because I don’t like him at all (not even as a friend).

I just don’t want to keep repeating this cycle, but what can I do? I just am not interested in that kind of relationship at this point.

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The Spiral of Life

I’ve been thinking about my college years and what I learned during my time there, inside or outside the classroom. My Natural Science I (Physics) professor introduced the concept of spacetime and told my class that Earth’s motion seen in spacetime was a spiral rather than an ellipse (each moment has a unique place in space and time, thus never quite duplicated). According to the theory of general relativity, Earth travels around the Sun because the Sun’s mass curves spacetime around it, making other bodies move within this curvature. The greater the mass of an object, the more curved spacetime around it becomes. Just as objects travel the straightest lines possible within curved spacetime (i.e., a spiral), could it be possible that our lives also progress in a spiral?

In our lives, we revolve around what bears the most importance to us (e.g., family, career, money, God), but we do not remain at a standstill. Each event in life is a unique combination of past experience and present time.

I’m at a point in my life where recent situations have begun to echo past experiences. Let me be a little less vague about the “recent situations.” People I met seven years ago (yup, in my college days) have resurfaced: former orgmates, classmates, and blockmates; a rebuffed suitor; and some friends from film screenings I used to attend in the university. At the same time, these days I’m experiencing general feelings of wanting independence from my parents and I’ve had to rebuff another suitor: these were things that happened seven years ago as well. If you’re like me and you believe there’s a purpose to why things happen, then you (I mean, I) have got to start asking, “What should I be doing differently this time around?”

That question is important, especially since this time around I’m no longer a sixteen-year-old in her second year of college. I told Adam last week, “You ever feel like you’re at a certain point where one decision could determine how the rest of your life goes?” He said some wise words: “Enjoy it; it’s a good time to be in. Just remember, whatever you do decide, don’t lose sight of who you are.”

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana


Maria Sharapova: Destined for Greatness at the US Open?

…As the US Open rolls around again this year, Maria will be hoping to improve her performance on the blue courts. She had her best showing last year, racing through to the semifinals before losing in three sets to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. When asked to assess her performance, Maria said she had to improve her physical conditioning and adjust to her two-inch growth spurt. One year later, she seems to have put in the extra training time, looking more fit and moving better. Aside from her fourth-round exit at this year’s French Open, she has gotten to the semifinal or better in each of the tournaments she’s entered, and she’s likely to repeat that feat at the US Open.

That is, if the draw is kind and she doesn’t have to face a Williams sister in the early rounds….

Read the rest of my guest post at On The Baseline Tennis News.

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Google Cache Saved My Life

Maybe that’s being a little overdramatic, but considering how much Google has been integrated into my daily life (courtesy of Firefox‘s search bar), how I can I escape using its capabilities to overcome the little frustrations of life?

For instance, way back when I used to update this journal manually, I lost half of the entries for June 2002. I was sick in anguish over the loss — until I realized Google had cached my entries for me. I was in raptures when I was able to restore my archives. Not that my writing back then was any good, but it had sentimental value. Ü

Recently I’ve been using Google to help me find ways to solve problems of the computer sort. My family treats me as if I’m a high-tech savant, but I’m actually clueless about what goes on behind the Windows GUI. The thing is I remember whatever I’ve done before, like installing a specific software program or configuring a Bluetooth dongle, and this is usually enough to help me pull us out of a jam. But when I’m in doubt, I run to Google for help. There are probably thousands of tech experts and geeks out there posting on bulletin boards about problems and fixes. All I have to do is figure out my problem, find the right fix by using the right search keywords, and it’s basically monkey-see, monkey-do from there.

Just last week, I found out that my dad’s USB flash drive had been infected with a virus. The flash drive was carrying a hidden payload that automatically ran the file “NETSVCS.EXE” whenever it was plugged into a computer. This file would then deposit copies of itself and three other files into the Windows/system32/ directory and make changes to the Windows registry so that whenever a flash drive (not just the original infected one) was plugged in, the computer would infect it with the same virus. And then presumably this flash drive would be used on other computers, which would then be infected, and so on.

By the time I discovered the problem, not only was my dad’s flash drive and this computer infected, but my mom’s and my own flash drive also had the viral payload. The blasted thing even infected my Ipod Shuffle (which is more or less a glorified flash drive with an internal battery). I went on Google using the suspicious “NETSVCS.EXE” filename as a search keyword. I ended up with pages of results about the AGOBOT trojan, but only one archived bulletin board webpage actually showed any promise of a fix. Unfortunately, the problem was relatively new and since the so-called “experts” from that bulletin board hadn’t verified the fix yet, they had deleted the relevant info posted.

I was just about ready to format my computer and give up the flash drives for lost (goodbye, precious files! *sob*) when I decided to check the cached version of that webpage. It still had the deleted info on it, which had a link that led me to a different bulletin board run by tech-savvy Filipinos. It had the fix for the NETSVCS.EXE flash drive virus.

So yeah, Google Cache may not have saved my life literally both times, but it saved my online life. I think that should count for something.

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The Trouble With “Noelle”

Every time I meet someone new and the obligatory introductions are made, I have to explain my name. It’s spelled N-O-E-L-L-E. No, it’s not pronounced “Noel-lee.” Silent “E” at the end. Yes, it’s a real name, French in origin. “Noelle” is the feminine version of “Noel.” Yes, it’s a real name, damnit.

(I’m just thankful that in person there’s no doubt I’m not a man. Getting form letters that address me as “Mr.” or “Sir” because they’ve guessed my sex by my name is very, very annoying.)

I used to wish I was called something else. I had no idea what other name I wanted, but the only qualification was that it wouldn’t be as strange as my real name. Because my first name was so short nobody could manufacture a nickname from it, I remained “Noelle.” I began to think I could use my second first name, which is “Frances,” when I started college. Then I realized I have a younger cousin named Frances and I didn’t want to be confused with her. So, “Noelle” stuck.

Now I realize that my name has helped me define who I am. I’m different from a Sarah or a Jenny or a Michelle (not that there’s anything wrong with having those names). I love that I’m the only one called that among my acquaintances; when my friends mention “Noelle” I’m the one they’re talking about. Search for “Noelle” on Google and I’m in the first few pages of results; in fact, everything I’ve done on the Internet is associated with this name.

Over time I have become my name; I think I’m as unique and idiosyncratic as it is. When someone recently suggested I could use my second first name, I scoffed at the idea almost immediately and realized how important my name has become to me.

I still have to go the long way about introducing myself these days. I’ve even taken to wearing a gold necklace with my name on it, just to make spelling it out less tedious. But now, I realize taking the trouble with my name is worth it. It’s my name, and don’t you forget it. Ü

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Not a Rat Race

Because I am a “fresh graduate” (a nicer term for “never been employed”) and looking for a job, I have practically nothing to do except for two things: going to the gym, and blogging. They’re not really bad ways of spending part of each day, and if you’re like me you can find ways of amusing yourself and escaping ennui. The only thing is, it’s just busy work. Or is it?

It’s starting to pay off, at least in one way. Apparently, if you spend enough time at the gym, you will definitely lose weight. Duh. Well, it only works if the time you spend there you spend working out instead of hanging out looking for “eye candy” and drinking the free sugary sodas so thoughtfully provided.

Seriously speaking, by being a gym rat I have worked 15 pounds off in about six weeks, and the feeling of accomplishment is awesome. What’s kind of embarrassing is that the guards, receptionists, and personal trainers at the gym already recognize me because I’m there so often. It’s all right, though; I mean, it’s nice having someone greet you genuinely (not just because it’s their job) like a friend when you come and go.

The best part is I didn’t even think I was working hard at it, since I’m having a lot of fun going to dance and combat classes, and the resistance training I’ve been doing doesn’t cause me (much) pain. Seeing all these uber-fit people around me, or seeing other people who want to get fit working their butts off has been a huge motivational boost for me.

It’s also great positive reinforcement when my instructors’ faces light up when we give extra effort and energy in their classes. These people work hard to give us a good workout and I think the least I can do is put my best foot forward (or the correct foot, for those dance classes Ü). I try even harder for those instructors who give their classes a personal touch.

I attended Gelli‘s BodyJam class this morning and she recognized me from my comments on her blog and from the time she was substitute instructor for another BodyJam class I attended. After she gave us one of the best BodyJam sessions I’ve ever had, I thanked her. I was really surprised and flattered when she gave me this piece of advice (this is not a direct quote): “Everyone was watching you kasi ang ganda mo gumalaw. I noticed though that you look down at the floor. You only looked up whenever I called your name. You know the last time, when I said you were dancing in your own little world… You have to look up! The audience can’t see you project.”

I dance for the workout it gives me, but to be told that the others in the class were watching me (and not in a bad way)? Not bad for a mouse potato like me, no?

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In Dreams

Most days, I don’t remember exactly what I’ve dreamed during a night’s sleep. I woke up this morning with one dream sequence firmly etched in the darkness behind my closed eyelids.

Night has fallen, and it’s raining enough to make the roads glisten. I’m driving in a car to get somewhere, but as I turn onto a street, there’s a construction project and a huge hole is in the road. I have to make a U-turn and take some other route.

The traffic is backed up, and I have to drive onto the sidewalk to make the turn. As I do this, the car starts shrinking until it’s smaller than a bump car. The roof disappears, and I get spattered by the rain. The car loses its engine and I’m forced to stick my left leg out to make it move, scooter-like. I take a look at my feet: I’m wearing a shoe on my left foot, but my right foot is shoeless. There’s a hole in my left shoe where it’s been worn through. I search for my right shoe; when I find it, it’s shrunk to the size of a toddler’s shoe.

The expectation fulfillment theory of dreams states:

  1. Dreams are metaphorical translations of waking expectations.
  2. Expectations which cause emotional arousal that is not acted upon during the day become dreams during sleep.
  3. Dreaming deactivates that emotional arousal by completing the expectation pattern metaphorically, freeing the brain to respond afresh to each new day.

I don’t put stock in dream interpretation, but I’ve put links in so you can make your own assumptions about my current mental state, situation, what-have-you. Ü